YOUR HEALTH: Dreaming up a new treatment for melanoma
HACKENSACK, N.J. (IVANHOE NEWSWIRE) - New research and treatments are starting to increase a person’s chance of surviving melanoma.
Ninety-eight thousand Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma in the year 2023, and 7,000 will die from it.
Up until not that long ago, metastatic melanoma was a uniformly fatal disease. If a person had it, that person usually died of it within a few years, according to Hackensack University Medical Center oncologist Andrew Pecora, MD.
Now, doctors can treat metastatic melanoma in two ways. They include immunotherapy using a person’s immune system to fight cancer. Another option is for patients with a specific gene mutation and is called the BRAF mutation targeted therapy. Doctors have been prescribing either to patients with the gene mutation.
The DREAMSeq trial proved that the order or sequence of the treatment matters.
“Patients who received immunotherapy first had significantly better survival than patients who received targeted therapy first,” Dr. Pecora said.
Dr. Pecora also said the sequence of treatment, with immunotherapy first, should become the standard of care, which will result in more people being alive for five years or more. If immunotherapy doesn’t work, doctors should then follow with targeted therapy.
Dr. Pecora said about 50% of metastatic melanoma patients have the BRAF gene, so this finding will have big implications for a lot of patients.
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